Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! The winner (selected at random) was the lovely Kay from Hermosa Vogue – thanks to the team at Personal Planner, Kay will receive a gift card to pick & custom design her very own planner! For those that missed out, Personal Planner have been kind enough to provide a 15% off code for BMH readers – simply go to ‘Get a Gift Card’ section on their website, enter the code D-DSEN-IJOM and start creating your planner! The code is valid until 31 January 2013 and cannot be used in conjunction with other offers.
To celebrate Australia Day, I made an Australian classic that I’ve never made before – lamingtons! I used the CWA recipe made by women across Australia for generations – it sounded pretty fail safe to me. I did commit a few amateur mistakes in the kitchen today though – firstly, I vacuumed and mopped the floor BEFORE baking, only for the floor to be covered in crumbs and coconut afterwards (ceiling fans and coconut flakes do not mix!) and I didn’t measure my cake tin – I think it was too big so my lamingtons did not turn out to be the size I wanted – they were more of a mini version. Also, baking on a 37 degree day in the tropics is not generally advisable.
This recipe uses a butter cake rather than a sponge cake – apparently sponge cake is more commonly used in lamingtons today. I prefer the lighter, fluffier sponge cake version but I was willing to give the butter cake a try. After creaming my butter & sugar and then adding the vanilla, eggs and dry ingredients, I had an uncooked batter that tasted pretty amazing. I would have been happy to finish the recipe there and then and just eat the batter, but I had a hungry Pilot doing man tasks outside and he was expecting lamingtons.
I cooked the butter cake for just on 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius and it came out of the oven with a lovely golden colour. After letting the cake cool, I noticed that he edges were just sightly too well cooked, so I trimmed off the edges (and ate them) before cutting the cake into squares and putting them into the freezer to firm up.
I didn’t particularly like the icing – I had to put in more cocoa to give it a darker colour and I found it difficult to get it to the right consistency. Even with the added cocoa, it looked much lighter than the chocolate covering on lamingtons I have eaten previously. Finally, I got it to a consistency I was happy with and I set up my lamington decorating station on the kitchen island.
I used my favourite Moist Coconut Flakes by McKenzies, because I think these taste so much better than dry old desiccated coconut. Dipping the lamingtons proved to be quite a messy process and by the end of it, my hands and my bench (plus floor) were covered in both chocolate and coconut. My misgivings about the icing disappeared when it did actually coat the lamingtons and I was quite excited that my end result was identifiable as a lamington (despite their differing shapes and sizes).
I popped them in the fridge for 30 minutes to give the icing a chance to firm up (see previous about 37 degree day) before eating. When I took one out, the icing was perfectly set and the cake buttery with a hint of vanilla. The Pilot quickly devoured two in quick succession (he is a hungry, hungry man due to all of the training he is doing for an upcoming triathlon) and gave me the feedback that ‘the cake is delicious, the icing needs to be darker and the coconut smaller’. I did not realise I was living with such a lamington connoisseur!.
I was definitely in the sponge camp prior to making this recipe, but I think the CWA recipe has now sold me on the butter cake version. Next time I make these, I will try a different icing version though as I think it could be improved – I’d like more of a real chocolate taste than the cocoa provides.
If you’d like to hear more about lamingtons (plus blogging and baking in general), I will be chatting with Natasha Mitchell on ABC Radio National’s ‘Life Matters’ program on Tuesday 29 January at around 8:30am QLD time. Also joining the conversation will be Pauline Hunt, Secretary of the CWA Cooking Committee, who I am sure knows more about cooking and baking than I ever will! I am more than a little nervous, so fingers crossed that I won’t sounds like a totally hapless fool. Thank you to ABC Radio National for the opportunity and hello to any new readers who have clicked through from the ‘Life Matters’ Facebook page!
What did you bake for Australia Day? x
- 125g butter
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1¾ cup Self Raising Flour
- ⅔ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups icing mixture
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tblsp cocoa
- dessert spoon of golden syrup
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add vanilla, add eggs one at a time.
- Add flour alternatively with milk.
- Pour mix into a greased lamington slab tin, 11 inches by 7 inches and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes.
- After it’s thoroughly cooled cut into four centimetre by 4cm pieces.
- Wrap cake in foil and put in the freezer.
- Put icing in a double boiler – over boiling water.
- Then put a lamington on a fork and ladle icing over the top until covered, hold it while it drips then roll in fine coconut.
- Dry on cake rack with greaseproof paper over the top of it, or underneath to catch the coconut.
- Mix all ingredients together then add a dash of boiling water to mix to a running consistency, but not too runny.